Textiles are an old, old language

Textiles are an old, old language

Textiles are an old, old language, adorning the body for millennia, signifying identity and tribe. Signifying home, family, and belonging. Woven in homes signifying marriage, love, dedication, devotion. Used in war signifying territory and tribe. The natural materials used are a reflection of the local landscape and natural environment. The traditional skills passed down through generations; a thread of continuity. By threads and bloodlines we are held together, strings and things, knitted in knots, unraveled by life, bound together in the great scheme of things. 

Strong threads merging to forge new patterns, new constellations.

The shawls above are handwoven in local homes in Jaisalmer, following traditional heritage patterns. Made from pure wool, the biggest one on the right takes over twenty days to weave.

In many ways, Haruka was born from an enchantment with textiles reflecting our tribal edge. 

Collaboration

We collaborate with other textile lovers and stock their creations in our Glastonbury shop. Helen who has the label, Door to the Himalayas specialises in Hand loom textiles and traditional skills. Elfn, is the label set up by Sophie Harrison for her unique hand felted pieces and Raggedy is the label of Hayley Trezize who makes intricately stitched upcycled clothing using high quality fabrics: wools, tweeds and linen. And, not forgetting Alekai creating his own block prints and Felicity who brings us a selection of Ecuadorian Ikat ponchos every year. The weaving of which is now a Unesco protected craft.

Amongst our limited edition clothing there is always a unique, handloom textile to be found. Here is a gallery of beautiful textiles past and present…

These Shawls are handwoven in local homes in Jaisalmer, following traditional heritage patterns. Made from pure wool, they take over twenty days to weave.
The ponchos either side above are brought to us once a year by Felicity who has recently moved from California to Equador to live with her Equadorian husband now that her son has gone to University. Felicity works with her husband’s mother who has long been involved in textiles and wants to pass on her skills and knowledge to the next generation. Felicity goes to meet the weavers and select the ponchos and shawls she will buy. She has to do this in person. Made using the the Ikat technique from the Southern Andes of Equador. The yarn is hand dyed in a series of hundreds of tiny knots then unknotted and handwoven on a back strap loom, to create incredible patterns. The loom is unchanged since pre-Columbian times. In 2015, the ancient tradition was recognised by UNESCO as being an ‘ Intangible Cultural Heritage’ of the world, both for the excellent quality of the work and because the craft is in danger of dying out. workers average age is over 75 years. 
The intricate fabric above and the white one in the middle above that are Bhutanese Kira’s. The Kira is Bhutan’s traditional national dress for women. The intricacy and complexity involved in Bhutanese weaving defies easy understanding. The level of handmade loom-work is unparalleled in modern times. Weavers often work 10 to 12 hours a day, generally producing no more than two inches of fabric at a time due to the difficulty of the pattern.  In the most technically challenging technique, weavers knot individual silk threads into motifs so intricate they resemble embroidery. The Bhutanese have a special word to describe this demanding process—Hingtham—which means “heart weaving.” In Bhutan, weaving is not merely a skill, it is a ritual of love and tenacity that comes from the heart.
The shawls above are both big, men’s size shawls handwoven on back strap looms in different regions of India. The one on the left is traditional to Kullu Valley, high in the Himalayan mountain range whereas the one on the right is a typical pattern from the desert plains of Rajasthan. Both are made of pure wool.
On the far left is a traditional Lotha, handwoven in Assam, a tribal area in northeast India where it is a traditional garment, woven by the women on backstrap looms. The middle picture is NOT printed, it is intricate Ikat weaving from Andhra Pradesh in southern India. The picture on the right is block print on handwoven, organic cotton
The pure white shawl above left is one of the very special things we sometimes have one or two of. It is the Aksee star. AKSEE means reversible, it is a traditional hand embroidery method  from  the Vale of Kashmir. The old men who make these hand embroidered stoles sit together in sewing circles in the traditional way.

1 thought on “Textiles are an old, old language

  1. […] You can find more about Amanda’s fascination with textiles here on her blog post ‘Textiles are an Old Language‘. […]

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